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tv   Tavis Smiley  WHUT  November 16, 2009 10:00pm-10:30pm EST

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. for the other man, pinchot these are resources that serve the common good. these are resources for a democracy. coyote: but pinchot was in washington and muir was in california. pinchot's view prevailed. pending congressional approval the interior secretary granted san francisco's application, calling it "the greatest benefit "to the greatest number of people." president roosevelt did nothing to stop it. muir was devastated. but the fight was not over. a year later, with roosevelt out of the white house the new president, william howard taft, came to california on his own tour of yosemite and to the dismay of san francisco's politicians, chose muir as his guide.
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before the visit was over, taft decided to oppose the dam. by 1913, however yet another president had taken office-- woodrow wilson, who chose as his secretary of the interior franklin k. lane, the former city attorney for san francisco. lane wasted no time getting the project back on track. muir was now 75, and the long battle over hetch hetchy had taken its toll. ten years earlier, he had anticipated completing 20 books in his old age. because of what he called "this everlasting "hetch hetchy business," he had managed to finish only 2. "i wonder," he wrote his daughter, "if leaves feel lonely when they see their neighbors falling."
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still, he soldiered on speaking, writing, urging anyone who would listen not to flood the exquisite valley. "i still think we can win," muir said in november of 1913, adding, "anyhow, i'll be relieved when it's settled, "for it's killing me." 3 weeks later, the bill approving the dam cleared its final hurdle in congress. president wilson quickly signed it into law. man: it was sorrowful indeed to see him sitting in his cobwebbed study in his lonely house with the full force of his defeat upon him after the struggle of a lifetime in the service of hetch hetchy. i could not but think that if congress, the president and even the san francisco contingent could have seen him
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they would certainly have been willing to have delayed any action until the old man had gone away. and i fear that is going to be very soon... as he appeared to me to be breaking very fast. robert marshall. coyote: exhausted and frail, muir forced himself to finish a book on his travels in alaska. he built new bookcases in the big, empty house he had once shared with his wife louie and their 2 children. man as john muir: the battle for conservation will go on endlessly. it is part of the universal warfare between right and wrong. fortunately, wrong cannot last. soon or late, it must fall back home to hades, while some compensating good must
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surely follow. they will see what i meant in time. there must be places for human beings to satisfy their souls-- food and drink is not all. there is the spiritual. in some, it is only a germ, of course. but the germ will grow. coyote: in december of 1914, he came down with pneumonia. on christmas eve, john muir, the wilderness prophet who had struggled so hard to get his adopted country to experience the blessings of nature, died. pope: i think when john muir walked into yosemite a century-long conversation began... and it was a conversation about the
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nature of america and about whether we were going to remain what lincoln called "the last best hope of earth" or whether we were simply going to become another europe. and john muir's encounter with yosemite-- remember, he was a european. he came from this narrow scots background. he was not an american. and he encountered yosemite and he imagined what america could be. and for a century, we've fought about whether we liked his vision or not. man: i like what he said on one occasion where he essentially said, "the enemies of wildness "are invincible, and they are everywhere, "but the fight must go on... "and for every acre that you gain, "10,000 trees and flowers and all the other forest people "and the usual unborn generations "will rise up and call you blessed."
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coyote: 4 years after muir's death work on the dam he had opposed with all his strength began, and the hetch hetchy valley, whose tranquil meadows he had compared to a landscape garden and a mountain temple would slowly be entombed under hundreds of feet of water. but muir's fight had struck a chord in many americans, who now wondered if a lovely valley in yosemite national park could be turned into a reservoir were any national parks safe? cronon: john muir lost the fight over hetch hetchy and the dam was built, and people who live in san francisco today drink the water of hetch hetchy. muir died feeling that he'd been defeated by that and that was a great tragedy at the end of his life.
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but it's also true that hetch hetchy would then go on as a kind of battle cry that would inform all wilderness, wild land, parkland battles from that moment on. it looks like a defeat, and yet what's interesting about it is that in that defeat a whole series of people began to wonder whether the parks needed more protection than they currently had. that there needed to be some greater rampart some greater wall that could defend the parks against a future such controversy. coyote: a proposal that muir had supported now began gaining greater ground across the nation-- to create an agency within the federal government whose sole job would be to promote, administer and protect the national parks to make su they fulfilled their great promise and endured for countless generations.
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man: muir said... man as john muir: as long as i live, i will hear the birds and the winds and the waterfalls sing. i'll interpret the rocks and learn the language of flood, of storm and avalanche. i'll make the acquaintance of the wild gardens and the glaciers and get as near to the heart of this world as i could. and so i did. i sauntered about from rock to rock, from grove to grove, from stream to stream, and whenever i met a new plant i would sit down beside it for a minute or a day to make its acquaintance hear what it had to tell. i asked the boulders where they had been and whither they were going and when night found me, there i camped. i took no more heed to save time or to make haste than did the trees or the stars.
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this is true freedom a good practical sort of immortality.
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announcer: next time on "the national parks"... a new leader steps forward to protect america's wild places. man: stephen mather was the right man in the right place at the right time. announcer: a federal agency is created to watch over the parks, and in arizona a fight over the fate of the grandest canyon on earth. man as irvin s. cobb: imagine the very heart of the world
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laid bare before our eyes. announcer: as "the national parks" continues. to further explore "the national parks: america's best idea," visit pbs online at... "the national parks: america's best idea," a film by ken burns is available on dvd and blu-ray. a companion book and cd are also available. to order, visit or call 1-800-play-pbs.
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for a century, americans have had the opportunity to enjoy our most beautiful natural treasures through the remarkable efforts of our national park service. we're proud to support ken burns and share his belief that by preserving america's past we can build a stronger future. the films of ken burns have captured the beauty, the texture, and the emotion of american history. general motors is proud to support this great artist his outstanding work on pbs, and the great story that is america. our national parks belong to all of us. they are places of discovery they are places of inspiration they
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are america's best ia. major funding provided by: the evelyn and walter haas, jr. fund; the park foundation, in support of a clean and healthy environment; the arthur vining davis foundations-- dedicated to strengthening america's future through education; the national park foundation the official charity of america's national parks; the peter jay sharp foundation; the pew charitable trusts; the corporation for public broadcasting; and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. announcer: this fall on pbs... it's a season for exploring...
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and for the daring for the amazing... and the entertaining. come join in this increble journey all this fall on pbs. announcer: this fall, "nova" unlocks the ultimate mystery-- the birth of humanity. woman: having a nearly complete skeleton, we can start to ask big questions. man: "homo erectus" was actually prettsmart. that "homo erectus" did this tells us they were capable of thinking ahead. announcer: with groundbreaking discoveries... woman: every bone that came out of the ground was something brand-new to science. announcer: and the newest scientific techniques. the individual before me really seems to come to life. announcer: explore the lives of our most ancient ancestors as they become human on "no." announcer: from "masterpiece contemporary"
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comes an incredible true story. south africa, 1988 engulfed in the madness of apartheid. man: let your voice join ours when we say the bloodshed of our people must end. the time to shout "enough!" has come. announcer: but two opposing forces... trust no one. confide in no one. risk everything to find common ground. fear binds us all. i cannot stand by and do nothing while my country is reduced to ashes. announcer: it's the beginning of the end. man: can you guarantee the release of nelson mandela and all political prisoners? announcer: william hurt stars in "endgame," on "masterpiece contemporary." announcer: this fall "american masters" reveals the intimate stories of two remarkable women. i'm going to take fate by the throat
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and shake a living out of her. announcer: louisa may alcott endured years of hardship before she wrote her groundbreaking novel "little women." and i'll be rich and famous and happy before i die. see if i won't. announcer: just as alcott's feminist ideas were ahead of their time... ♪ the night they drove old dixie down ♪ so, too, has joan baez influenced generations of artists and fans with her songs and her social activism. baez: most of my life i look back on and i don't see how that ever really happened. announcer: explore the private and public lives of louisa may alcott and joan baez, this fall on "american masters." announcer: from an island of fire... [whale song] to a distant realm of ice.
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voyage across thousands of miles... with the humpbacks. one right here off our bow, coming at you. and explore the incredible migration of the fellowship of whales on "nature." announcer: take a look at our world through the lives of 4 common plants. man: we don't give nearly enough credit to plants. they've been using us for their own purposes. announcer: plants that have adapted to our desires for sweetness. second man: the desire for sweetness is hard-wired in human beings. announcer: for beauty... first man: that there is a multi-billion-dollar trade in these wonderfully useless beautiful things it's kinda great. announcer: to our desire for control. first man: a desire for that perfect french fry carries a whole chain of consequences, all the way back to the farm. announcer: and for intoxication.
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third man: people like to have that altered consciousness. announcer: it's a journey through nature as you've never seen it before-- "the botany of desire." announcer: this fall "nova" has the inside story on one of nasa's most dangerous missions. man: we now really know the shuttle is not as safe as we once hoped it was. announcer: the final repairs of the hubble telescope. woman: risk is something that we think about and that we talk about but i believe in this program. announcer: it takes incredible skill and stamina... second man: it's very hard to get a feel for what does it take to stop it, what does it take to rearrange it. announcer: for the most intensive space walk ever. there's a limit. we only have a certain amount of oxygen and a certain amount of battery power. announcer: go behind t scenes and experience the extraordinary challenges that face the crew of hubble's amazing rescue on "nova." [lively jazz playing] announcer: it makes you move. woman: this danceability transcends language. ♪ para bailar la bamba ♪
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announcer: it's constantly evolving. man: the influence of the latin music on rock 'n' roll was seminal. ♪ come on, shake your body, baby, do the conga... ♪ announcer: it's about business. second man: the country was ready for the latin explosion. ♪ upside, inside out ♪ ♪ livin' la vida loca... ♪ announcer: it's about fame... the boom is the gift and the curse. announcer: and it's as diverse as the story of america. woman: this is a historic moment. this is a real crossover. announcer: it's "latin music u.s.a." this fall, only on pbs. announcer: come join this amazing journey all this fall on pbs.
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ken burns: we've frozen to death--ha ha!-- you know, in below-zero weather. we've filmed in broiling-hot temperatures. it's every extreme and yet, you know, i don't think there's any of us that ever complained about this, that didn't feel that we were part of this privileged moment of being able to capture this stuff. i just love these. buddy squires: like, if you can follow the ridgeline down... yeah. i know. i know. i just did. dayton duncan: we have shot in 53 of the 58 national parks. we extended our shooting schedule by about two years for a project of this size mainly because there are so many places we needed to go. the parks themselves the places themselves are, in essence, characters in our film. we wanted to be able to interview them as extensively as possible and some of them we went 3 different seasons to visit them. burns: we're filming in denali and
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it has only one road. it's 90 miles long and most of it is dirt and completely unimproved, and that's the way the park wants it to be and so you have a sense that this is just your little ribbon of territory-- "don't leave this line. this is where you go"-- but for me especially, the bear-- and one day where it was in early august, we were perusing these brown bears in alaska, and we look at each her, and, you know, it's great. in this film, the landscape really is the character. it's one of the characters. it's the main character. i mean, it is a film about the parks, so, you know thankfully, we have this incredible landscape to work with and it's so varied and it's so beautiful. i think the most amazing experience
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i had was in hawaii volcanoes. i was actually shooting hand-held out the back door of a helicopter. it started out, we flew up to the top of the crater and we were probably flying 15 feet over the active volco, and i could feel the heat singeing my feet, it was so hot. we then flew out and over to the coast, where this lava, which i think is around 2,000 degrees, is just pouring into the ocean and as it hits the ocean it sends up these huge plumes of steam and also the lava itself kind of explodes out. during the day, u don't really see the immensity of the lava field, but at night miles of earth glow, and to fly over glowing, hot, red molten earth is so exciting. it was just an amazing amazing experience
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and, you know, hopefully some of that comes through in the film. duncan: we shot at the grand canyon as many times if not more than any other place. you know, it's the grand canyon, and it's very big. burns: we filmed in every season, from every time of day at every vantage point that we could think of trying to get back something of it, you know that never does justice. you stand on the rim of the grand canyon, and until you've been there, no photograph, however spectacular, does justice to that moment. duncan: i think one of the most memorable experiences for me personally, was an 11-day raft trip through the grand canyon. shooting from that perspective is so different from the rim. that shadow is... duncan: there are these moments of exquisite tranquility on the flat water and then these moments of sheer terror as you're, you know, going over a rapid
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and your raft is almost perpendicular. the park service has done such a great job of saying "this is a really good place to stop "and look at that mountain peak or to see this cascade or just to experience what this park has to offer," that much of what we shot are views that any american family with a park map and desire to see what that park has to offer, they could find, too. burns: i think something draws us there. everybody feels it. the most jaded city dweller can't help but have their molecules rearranged just a little bit in one of these places and what's so interesting is that when thomas jeffern sort of conceived of our country he saw this whole place as an eden
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and so he didn't need a tional park. he just assumed it would remain in this agrarian kind of pristine state but that didn't happen. we filled up the continent very quickly and all of a sudden, we began to experience this anxiety. "what if we run out of these places? what does it say about ourselves if we let these places go?" and i think it animated this impulse to just try to save these places. shelton johnson: whenever someone enters a national park it's like going to another world and i think that people feel that transition. they feel that sense that they've gone to someplace better than what they've left behind, but the irony is that where they've gone is the place where they've always been. it's just now they understand it. now they see it. now they feel it because parks are like going home. [bird screeches]
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